short distance from my house is a rock.
of a boulder, actually. A small boulder. Still, it’s perfectly
visible. Near the side of a main road, not even three miles from
my driveway. It’s the type of rock you probably would never notice.
You could drive past it for years and not even consider it.
rock is a bit different though. There’s a plaque mounted on it.
And, a few feet away, one of those official-looking, state-department-of-transportation-style,
blue background with white writing metal signs indication that
there is an attraction nearby and more or less confirming that
this is a special rock.
years ago, I was in the mall during the holidays and I decided
to purchase one of those fancy framed family heritage crest and
history prints. The lion part was pretty neat. Musket at the lion’s
feet was cool. I still don’t know how to merge the lion and the
musket with the seagull though.
family coat of arms is a lion with a musket. The crest? Well…
it’s a seagull… “rising all proper”… on a rock.
you ever spent any time around seagulls? I have. Plenty of trips
to beaches. Plenty of drives to the ocean. Plenty of seagulls,
looking for fries and clam strips, getting just a bit too close
to you and your delicious meal for comfort.
can be, frankly, a bit difficult trying to merge those fry chomping
invaders on an otherwise delightful day with the majestic image
of a family crest. Not quite unsettling. But definitely difficult.
And that difficulty comes with a bit of a punch line.
offering the lion and the musket we learn about the seagull and
the rock. And from there, the family motto. (Ready? Ok…)
God is a rock.”
a seagull on top of a rock, and I do believe you would also have
a few thoughts about majestic images.
in the San Francisco Bay there happens to be an island. Pretty
famous island. You likely know it for Alcatraz. You probably also
know it by it’s nickname. The Rock.
thing, rock. You hear an expression—say, just selecting at random,
like “Here God is a rock”—and for most of us the context of the
statement might lead you to think about anything from the perfect
stone for skipping across calm water to a foundation for building
a castle. The size and scope and use changes. Greatly. But I am
not a geologist. A geologist likely shuddered a few lines ago
at a point where most of you did not. It was when I said the rock
by the road was bigger, more of a boulder. Rocks and boulders
are not the same thing. Pebbles and cobbles and boulders… that’s
a question of size. Rock is a question of materials and composition.
Some rocks you can hold in your hand. Some rocks you would need
massive equipment to move.
have never really paid much attention to that rock off to the
side of the road. But the other day, while stopped in a bit of
traffic, I had an extra moment to look away from traffic and I
saw the sign. Sign directed attention to a rock, and wondering
if that rock next to it was the rock allowed me to recognize it
must be since there was a plaque mounted on it.
seen larger rocks than this historical artifact brought in to
neighborhoods for landscaping reasons. You might even call those
landscaping rocks prettier. More noticeable. Those rocks have
no plaques. Those rocks are quite unlikely to ever earn state-department-of-transportation-sign
level status. In a wild attempt at paraphrasing, we have a sign…
we have a plaque… we have history saying: “Here, is a rock.” No…
the plaque shouts, “here, is a rock.”
in turn brings about questions of interpretation, and in some
ways just might connect some thoughts to the rock near my house,
a seagull, and a motto.
the years I’ve done a bit of research. And I’ve found stories…
virtually all unverifiable and hidden in the “well, I can always
hope this is true” segment of thoughts… with several involving
a brave defense against attackers, taking place on a beach with
some cover being provided by rocks along the beach. In some stories
rocky cliffs along the beach. In others, rocks on the beach. Both,
at least, allow for stretching and matching to another found offering
that “here God is a rock” was being offered as a battle cry.
is also information floating about that discusses times of religious
turmoil, often with movement, migration, and resettlement. Moving
for religious reasons… perhaps a long and difficult journey… seagulls
can be seen as a sign of approaching land… and, now one more time:
“Here God is a rock.” Salvation and hope provided after a challenging
so… certainly, found in a bit of a personal definition… a fierce
and determined adventurer (lion and musket), embarking on a journey
and eventually finding the destination (appearance of a seagull),
and welcoming the new land upon which the future will be built
it bit? Perhaps. But there are plenty of things around you right
now, with significance and purpose, that you may have never noticed
(or at least not fully understood). My seagull and a rock could
be your horse and a feather (though I have no idea what your story
may be in that case).
somewhere nearby you at this very moment, there likely is a building
or a rock or some type of monument. It blends into the scenery
and you’ve never really given it any attention. And yet it has
a story. It has a history that makes it a bit more than a simple
rock. It’s just a question, literally and figuratively, of materials